Tips for Family and Friends of a Recovering Addict

In For Friends, For Parents, Long-Term Recovery by Hazel Marie

Family and friends play a huge role in the life of a recovering addict. You have all dealt with the stress that comes with knowing your loved one is addicted to drugs in the first place. That, we know, was hard enough. But now they’re going through the hardest part, the recovery.

At times, your loved ones may not want your help. They may fight it or try to avoid it. Then there are those that ask too much of you. These recovering addicts are leaning on you as though you will be the one to solve their problems. Well, this isn’t always true. You shouldn’t force your help nor should you be helping too much. Here are some tips for family and friends of a recovering addict.

First Things First, They Need Your Support

Understand that sobriety is hard for a recovering addict. Extremely hard. One of the best things you can do in this situation is understand that. A recovering addict, whether of drugs or alcohol, is always tempted. It’s a tough thing, avoiding a substance you’ve relied on day in and day out. Keeping your loved one away from temptation is key in ensuring they never come in contact with the substance they were addicted to.

Rid Your Home of Any Distracting Substances

Anything intoxicating should be disposed of. Not only should you dispose of it, but you should be sure that it doesn’t get spotted in the disposal process. Be wary of how your loved ones would feel if they spotted a temptation in the comfort of their own home.

Be the Shoulder to Lean On

Recovering addicts will approach hurdles non-stop. They’ll not only reach milestones, but at times they’ll reach ultimate lows never thought possible while they were addicted. Of course, they can imagine the strength of withdrawals and how awful the experience can be, but living it is something different. When these mountains are being hiked across, you should be the one that lends a helping hand to get them to the top.

Understand and Educate

Addiction comes along for many different reasons. Stress, sadness, depression, anxiety. People become addicted to drugs and alcohol for reasons beyond the understanding of some. It’s important that you understand the problem at hand.

Why Did Your Loved One Become Addicted in the First Place?

Understand why they became addicted. How did you find out they were addicted? Maybe there were signs of their addiction, or maybe they blatantly told you about it. Either way, figuring out what brought on the addiction could help you understand it and educate yourself. Being able to sit down and talk about it is great therapy to help you and your loved one avoid a relapse or similar situation.

What is Withdrawal Like?

Educate yourself and do some research. You may find out that withdrawals are hard and greatly affect your health. Not only are they a burden, but they can lead to high blood pressure and blurred vision. These are health issues that can be lifelong, so once you understand this you can begin to realize the problem at hand. Aiding your loved one through withdrawal can help them regain a healthy life post recovery.

Join a Support Group

Being a friend or a family member of a recovering addict can not only be tough on your loved one, but it can be tough on yourself. Forming a support group with family and friends can help with unresolved problems, tension and sadness. Emotions can be put to rest, and the air can be cleared. You’ll realize that there are others who feel exactly how you feel, and you’ll be able to relate with the people who are going through the same things you are.

If you’re unable to form a group amongst the friends and family of your loved one, consider joining a public support group. Getting outside opinions can help you get more perspectives on the situations. Others can help you deal with any struggles you are having, and you will be able to hear stories from those that are in different yet similar situations.